Understanding why anyone will want to read your book

This is the latest post in my off-on book marketing plan series and I’m hoping to encourage everyone to take a slightly different look at their book; the reason is that we all need to be realistic in understanding what it is that makes our book different from others that the reader could choose. It is this difference which is your USP or unique selling proposition.

There are two types of books in my opinion, I know you could shoot me down, but for the purposes of this post it would be great if you could just play along and it will make sense eventually – promise. Those two types of books are … fiction and … non-fiction; there are variations in each group but for the time being these two broad categories will do.

As it’s slightly easier to create a USP for a non-fiction book I think we’ll start with this category.

To make a book stand out you can’t just say ‘this is a book about how to use your computer, living in Spain or collecting Royal Doulton. There has to be an angle, something that approaches the subject at hand in a slightly different way and having this angle will also help you to identify with your potential audience.

Your book could be for the beginner or for the expert computer user; it could be a book for the long time collector of a particular piece of Royal Doulton memorabilia or the child who is given their first piece for Christmas. Perhaps your book will appeal to someone who has just moved to a new country with a family and a dog or someone who is planning to explore the world in a vintage VW camper van.

Each of these differences helps to narrow down your readership, ensuring that the right people read your book and recommend it.

You could also create a USP out of the resources section or by providing access to extra content and updates; perhaps you are an acknowledged expert or have a story to tell which illustrates the message you are trying to share beautifully. Each of these provide you with yet another unique angle that only you can write about.

When it comes to a fiction book it is slightly more difficult to do, but it’s not impossible, you just have to think a bit more laterally.

You might be writing short stories or a children’s bedtime book. It could be a tale of wizards and witches or of murder and mayhem. These are huge generalisations that need breaking down even further.

Perhaps your short stories are around a particular theme or tradition, perhaps they are based on the tales your grandmother told you at bedtime.  Your wizard could be male, female, boy or girl; it could be a story that tells of a battle with a health condition, trauma that happens only once in a blue moon. It might be set in New York or Lower Castle Street in Newcastle. Your story could have a heroine a hero who is young or old and set in the past, the present or the future.

Your characters may have to contend with some unexpected event or they may learn something that means they aren’t who they think they are.

Now that you’ve identified all the possible angles to your book it’s now time to combine them into a something that stands out and tells the potential reader what they are likely to find when they open the cover. If you take the time to do this sort of analysis then your readers will be more likely to recommend you to others they know that are also interested in the same sort of book.

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